It seems that single baby boomers crave companionship; but at the end of the night, many would prefer to go home alone to their own house, or at least their own bed, according to a Del Webb survey of single boomers across the country.
That’s good news for builders of age-targeted communities. It means they have the potential to sell more homes to the 50-plus set, which seems to be a bit over the idea of marriage and in love with freedom, though still looking for somebody to hang out with.
A majority of the single baby boomers surveyed (56%) said they are interested in dating or finding companionship, but only 11% of them said they want to find love and get married. Divorced singles who said they want a companion but not to remarry made up 46% of those interviewed. And 29% were widowed and in search of a companion but not marriage.
"Love later in life is important to some, but what's most important is meeting people with common interests," said Fred Ehle, vice president of brand management for PulteGroup, Del Webb's parent company.
Of the 521 single baby boomers surveyed, 81% said the best thing about being single is having the freedom to do what they want, when they want. And about a third of those surveyed said that freedom gives them the chance to engage in social activities, hobbies, and spend time with friends.
That means communities for older boomers need to have plenty of venues where residents can socialize and find the companionship they crave. While 66% surveyed said friends and family are the best way to meet people and find love, 56% suggested social activities, such as fitness classes and clubs, were likely places for finding friends. Places of worship were favored by 45%.
For women, being single has another big benefit. Thirty-four percent of them said they like being single because it means they don’t have to clean up after another person. Only 14% of men listed that as a benefit.
Another take away from the survey for builders might be the idea of creating a second master suite option for active-adult buyers. Of the women surveyed, 17% said they liked having a bed to themselves, while only 7% of men said the same.
There were other big differences in responses between boomer women and men that might predict a lot of older women are likely to remain single but in search of companionship. While 53% of single boomer women said they prefer to date someone close to their age, 63% of men said they want to date younger or much younger women. And the older the man, the younger the women he wants to date. Nearly a third of men 70 and older said they prefer to date a much younger woman compared to 26% of the 50- to 59-year-old men. Only 22% of women craved younger or much younger men as dates.
To see the survey results, click here.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.